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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Did you miss in Pandaria?: The (other) Butcher

Transformed into Krastinov
The Diablo series has a boss called The Butcher who's been more prominent lately with his appearance in Diablo III. But let's not forget that WoW has its own. Doctor Theolen "The Butcher" Krastinov was a boss in the original version of Scholomance. Upon engaging him, he would let you know that "The doctor is in!" You had to kill him to summon the optional boss Kirtonos. Like many other bosses, he was removed from Scholomance during its revamp.

Or was he?

Now, Krastinov is actually a rare spawn that has a small chance to replace one of the trash packs following Rattlegore. He only spawns in the level 90 heroic version of Scholomance. Krastinov has the same abilities as his first incarnation: a bleed, a stun, and a self-Bloodlust effect.

He only has one item on his loot table, with a 100% chance to drop. Krastinov's Bag of Horrors is a transformation item that lets you sport the doctor's fashion, including his trademark bloody cleavers, for 10 minutes. It's a tribute to the quest item of the same name from classic WoW's Ghosts of Caer Darrow chain. We never knew exactly what was in that bag, and we never wanted to.

For you collectors out there, the bag has already been flagged as a toy in Warlords of Draenor.


Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

The incredible aging demographic

Let me put it on the line - LFR and Flexible raid sizes are the most important raiding experiences currently available in World of Warcraft, and the upcoming Mythic 20 person raid difficulty is an atavism, barely even an appendix, that only a vanishing few players will experience when it is current. It exists for a sense of achievement and prestige that only a few players really have the time for anymore, and every year, that group of players gets smaller.

The reason for this is simple - as Tom Chilton put it, the demographic is getting older over time. People like me who played for the raid game back in classic are older. They have jobs, kids, schedules that don't permit the kind of time investment hard modes currently demand, the kind Mythic will demand. And it's not that you can't do cutting edge raiding in, say, six hours a week. I'm not arguing that you will have to put in 20 hours a week to do Mythic. I'm arguing that even scheduling one or two nights a week and being there reliably is actually really hard when you have other commitments that can often demand your time on a moment's notice - in essence. being able to go when you want/need to raid instead of when the group is scheduled to go is a huge boon to that aging demographic. For all the elitism, all the sneering, and all the slurs directed at the LFR player base, the feature allows people who love raiding but who can no longer commit to scheduled WoW play a place to do it.

You can ask if this is healthy for the game as a whole - whether or not your answer is yes or no, though, there is no escaping this simple fact. WoW is a decade old. Many of us playing it have been here for years now. Even players who started in Wrath or Cataclysm have now been playing for years. This is an aging game with aging players, this is the reality of the situation. And this means that more adaptive raiding solutions are going to keep presenting themselves.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Did you miss in Pandaria?: The broken burner

Shrine of Fellowship incense burner
Not long ago, Blizzard unveiled the action-packed Warlords of Draenor cinematic, a worthy follow-up to the one for Mists of Pandaria. But did you know there's an achievement that ties in to the Mists trailer?

Restore Balance sounds like it's just for druids, but anyone can earn it. The achievement asks you to "Visit the Shrine of Fellowship in the Jade Forest and follow in the footsteps of Chen Stormstout." What these cryptic instructions really mean is to find the in-game location where the Mists trailer happened.

Head northeast from Grookin Hill toward the mountain on your map. When you see Shrine of Fellowship pop up on your screen, you're in the right place. It's a flat, misty plateau with a prominent jade bell (it was featured in the cinematic).

Look for the Broken Incense Burner. You'll notice it's a bit crooked, just like in the trailer before Chen straightens it. Click on it to "restore balance" and you'll earn the achievement. I wonder if there will be a similar achievement for the Warlords trailer...

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Did you miss in Pandaria?: Shado-Pan Geyser Gun

Geyser gun in action
The latest build of the Warlords beta shows a number of achievements for toy collecting. You can earn a "Robo-Gnomebulator" (whatever that is) when you amass 150 of them. For those dedicated collectors, one of the most obscure toys in Mists is the Shado-Pan Geyser Gun.

To earn it, you must return to the Throne of Thunder raid. You can queue for the Forgotten Depths section of ToT's LFR if you can't convince your guild to clear to Tortos. Once your LFR group has defeated Ji-Kun, you can return to the Tortos area by clicking on a feather and flying into the red portal above. Make sure you don't aggro any leftover trash on the way back!

The geysers in ToT have a hidden minigame. Standing on top of one gives you a stacking debuff called Spray Water. Continue riding the geysers until the debuff stacks to 250, which takes both practice and patience. There's no achievement for this, so look for the "new mail" icon instead. You'll receive a message in your mailbox from Taoshi of the Shado-Pan congratulating you on your "ninja-like geyser-jumping abilities." She includes the geyser gun as a reward. Now you can douse friend and foe alike in lukewarm water that smells strongly of Tortos.

If you want to be a really awesome person, you can earn the gun for several friends at once by allowing them to ride on your mount while you deal with those fickle geysers. Good luck!


Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

New Hellscream Short Story available now

If you're curious about exactly what is going on with Garrosh, Kairoz, and the Draenor we're all about to find ourselves on, then you'll want to read Hellscream, the new short story by Robert Brooks that's up on the official site right now. It goes into detail, bridging the gap between the end of War Crimes and the beginning of the expansion. How does Garrosh motivate the orcs of Draenor to become the Iron Horde? Well, that's exactly what this story covers.

Without spoilers, it's definitely an interesting read, and it gives us a sense of what the major actors are up to, especially Garrosh and Kairoz. Head on over to the official site and check it out.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: Which Horde is Which?

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

There will be spoilers for Warlords of Draenor in this post

So you may be confused right now. With the soon to come introduction of the Iron Horde, we've entered a situation where we've got several different Hordes. There's the Old Horde, the original Horde that invaded Azeroth from Draenor. There's the New Horde, or Horde 2 if you prefer, the Horde put together by Thrall after he liberated the orc survivors from the Second War, leading them out of the internment camps and to the shores of Kalimdor. Along the way they picked up the tauren and Darkspear trolls as allies, and eventually the Forsaken, blood elves and Bilgewater goblins joined their ranks. This Horde is the Horde most players are still a part of. Meanwhile, at the same time, there was the Dark Horde, consisting of Blackrock orcs under the command of Rend Blackhand and his ultimate master, Nefarian.

During his reign as Warchief of the Horde (the New Horde, to be specific) Garrosh Hellscream recruited both the Blackrock and Dragonmaw orcs to join the Horde. But at the same time, he grew disenchanted with the other races of the Horde - goblins were too greedy, blood elves too mercurial, undead too loyal to Sylvanas and distasteful to his sensibilities, the Darkspear too loyal to their Vol'jin, and the tauren ultimately too bound to their own code of honor. It didn't help that he'd killed Cairne Bloodhoof and further alienated the tauren clan leader Baine, Cairne's son, with his actions. Soon, Garrosh found himself leading a Horde he didn't much trust or care for.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard offering Mists of Pandaria free to lapsed subscribers

An email offer from Blizzard Entertainment is granting long-lapsed accounts Mists of Pandaria free of charge if they resubscribe. The email states:

The Iron Horde is coming and to help prepare you for the invasion, we've given your account, [account name], a FREE digital copy of Mists of Pandaria®. When you reactivate your WoW subscription, you'll be able to battle to level 90 and get ready for the launch of Warlords of Draenor™ on 11.13.14.

The email goes on to encourage preorders of Warlords of Draenor.

It's currently unknown whether all lapsed accounts are receiving this offer or not, but we've seen multiple reports of it over the weekend -- and I've received one myself for a secondary account I haven't played in a few years. Even if you haven't received this email but are considering a comeback, it may be worth checking your account page. Your lapsed account may have already been upgraded for you.

This coincides with a general price reduction for Mists of Pandaria. The expansion is now listed at $9.99 on the Blizzard store.

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Did you miss in Pandaria?: Carefully packaged rodents

Deployed rodent crate
As we approach the end of Mists, you may have characters with a vast pile of Lion's Landing/Domination Point Commissions from patch 5.1's Krasarang war clogging up your bags. Temporary world PvP boosts probably aren't of much interest these days, so here is a great way to spend them that will give you a more permanent reward.

The Rodent Crate costs 2000 commissions. But what does it actually do? The tooltip doesn't specify.

Using it will spawn Sumprush Rodents for one hour that can be battled and captured by anyone wandering by. Like other battle pets, they have a chance to be rare when you engage them.

The crate is the only way to get this particular pet. If you haven't heard of these beaver-like rats, that may be because they are not part of the Pandaria Safari achievement. They have different abilities and colors than the similar Bucktooth Flapper from Jade Forest.

Be sure to tell your friends when you're releasing the rodents so everyone can get one. The actual crate is so cute and weird when you place it down, I hope it becomes a Toybox item someday.


Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Did you miss in Pandaria?: Lost treasure of Old Man Thistle

Fighting Toxiclaw
As we reach the end of the Mists era, it's a great time to finish up some of the achievements and questlines we may have missed. Like the Pinch King, this questline is hidden. No marker indicates it. But you are given clues.

Once Fish Fellreed gets to know you better, she will tell you the story of Old Man Thistle, a farmer who found a secret cave full of treasure. It collapsed behind him after his mushan Bobo smashed through a wall, but he drew a map to its location. Unfortunately, the location of the map, like the cave, has been forgotten.

In order to start the questline, you need to be exalted with the Tillers faction and Best Friends with all of the Halfhill Market characters. You'll know you're done when the Friends on the Farm achievement pops up.

There's no quest for this, but you should head to Cattail Lake and hunt the Enormous Cattail Grouper. Be careful, though -- he's big enough to swallow you whole. (These groupers are also the target of the Gift for Haohan daily.) If you meet the requirements, the grouper will drop an Old Map and launch you on a brief but lucrative adventure.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Get exalted with the Lorewalkers in an hour or less

This article was originally posted October 5, 2012 by Michael Sacco. With Mists of Pandaria winding down, it's a good time to wrap up some of your lingering goals this expansion. If you've yet to hit exalted with the Lorewalkers, we're here to help.

When I first walked into Lorewalker Cho's sanctum at 90, I peered around for Lorewalkers daily quests and saw that they all seemed to involve archaeology in some way. My DK did not have archaeology up to any meaningful skill level. I sighed deeply at the cheap, neat-looking Disc of the Red Flying Cloud and walked away, until I heard from a little bird that getting Lorewalker rep was a lot easier than I thought.

All you really need to do to get exalted with the Lorewalkers is read each of the lore objects located throughout Pandaria; you can see a list of them (like The Seven Burdens of Shaohao) in your Exploration Achievements tab, under Pandaria. When you read all of the objects for each "story," you get an item to bring to Lorewalker Cho, who presents you with a sort of play about the story you collected, and you get a ton of reputation (thousands).

The best part? You can collect them all in an hour or less with 310 flying and a map to help you out.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Did you miss in Pandaria?: The Pinch King

Kril'Mandar Point
A few days ago, I was fishing along the coast of the northwestern Dread Wastes and something caught my eye: a red-named mob pathing back and forth behind a rock. It was a pretty obscure location, and the only enemies nearby were swimming in the water, so I decided to investigate. It was a makrura named Odd'nirok. It wasn't considered a rare spawn or a quest objective. Curious, I killed him. He put up a tougher fight than I expected, though by no means difficult. He dropped Odd'nirok's Clamshell and a book called Troubles From Without.

The book reads as follows:

Brothers and Sisters,

We need to keep our eyes beyond our shores. The mists have fallen. We, the Shado-Pan are the next and final line of defense.

The first to come, as you know, were the Horde and Alliance. While they have not shown themselves to be hostile, we continue to follow them with a wary eye.

The next to come did not arrive by air, but from beneath the sea. The makrura have shown increased activity on our shores, which suggests a possible future attack. I will highlight a few high-priority targets to look out for.

As I read through the book, it became clear that I had stumbled upon something awesome, and also something very much hidden. No skull marker or exclamation point indicates this "quest." No achievement hints at it. You just have to find one of these makrura, like I did, and then you're off. I was determined to find the five others that the book identified and see where this crazy clamshell led me.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

The End Comes At Last

So, with the news that we're finally going to get to see the cinematic and find out the release date for Warlords of Draenor one thing is clear. Mists of Pandaria finally has an ending.

It's been a long ride, this expansion. Longer than it should have been. I think that's an irrefutable statement, but for everyone there's a different threshold. Personally, I hit my fill of Mists of Pandaria a few months back. It wasn't due to a lack of quality, or any kind of discontent with the expansion's storyline, or some sort of knee jerk reaction to pandas. I liked the pandaren, I liked Pandaria, I liked the raids we got. No, for me it was simply long past its shelf life, a victim of its own success in pushing out patches faster during the expansion. I've felt for a while now that it would have been better for the game if they'd actually been a little slower with each patch - an extra month or so for each one to come out would have made this less a content drought and more a mere dry spell.

But at last, it's over. I'm not angry with Mists, exactly - it did a lot of really great things and accomplished what it set out to do. It gave us whole new places to go and explore and a new story that incorporated the new land we were exploring and the places we'd come from. I had fun playing it. I'm glad we'll soon get to go somewhere else, though. It's time to move on.

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

The whole World of Warcraft in 41 minutes

It's no secret that I like the lore of World of Warcraft, so it should be no surprise that I decided that you needed to see this video. Nobble's done lore videos before, but this is quite frankly his masterpiece - a fairly concise (for what it is covering) run-through of all of the background of World of Warcraft and the Warcraft franchise as a whole. It's definitely worth your time.

Soak in it, my friends, the gloriously messy, chaotic, crazy lore of World of Warcraft.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Gaze of the Black Prince returns

Wrathion
Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday July 15th, at 9:00 am PDT, the Gaze of the Black Prince buff will reappear on live servers. This game-wide buff increases reputation gains with The Black Prince by 100%, and increases your chance to earn Sigils of Wisdom, Sigils of Power, Secrets of the Empire, and Titan Runestones. The buff will last two weeks and end at 9:00 am PDT on July 29th. If you've got a toon working on that legendary cloak questline, you just might be able to push through and finish it up in the next two weeks.

Make sure to check out Anne Stickney's guide to getting that fancy orange piece of gear if you're feeling stuck or overwhelmed, there are some great tips there for using your time as efficiently as possible. For those of you aiming to get your legendary cloak--be it your first or fifth--good luck, and may the Gaze of the Black Prince help you out.

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Will we see a valor cap change?

Recently on twitter, Bashiok raised my hopes with a simple tweet.

Because frankly, this late into the expansion, getting an alt fully geared up should be something we can do at whatever pace we want. I get Bashiok's point about how it's not as easy as just flipping a switch, but frankly, I don't think the current valor cap serves much of a purpose. The weekly/total caps of 1000/3000 serve a gatekeeping role that was much more important back in Mists of Pandaria's salad days, when the content was new and we were concerned about getting metaphoric tummyaches.

Now, it's the equivalent of leftovers, and if people want to just pile on those leftovers, we should be applauding their efforts and letting them. I say, remove the weekly cap entirely, raise the total cap to 4000 and let people run wild if they so desire. Treat valor as a buffet. (I may have been hungry when I started thinking about this issue.) We'll see a complete redesign to Valor in Warlords anyway, so might as well just relax the gateway for now.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

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